By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG December 18, 2001 Livingston Manor boys basketball coach Les Hyde found himself facing a familiar opponent Friday night.
To be more specific, Hyde was competing against a familiar group of players. In fact, he had coached all of the Fallsburg Comet players who were on the floor competing against his visiting Wildcats in the non-league game.
As the Fallsburg junior varsity boys basketball coach for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 basketball seasons, Hyde had mentored those players now competing under the tutelage of Paul Marsden on the varsity level.
It was a bittersweet night for Hyde, however, as the Fallsburg Comets defeated Manor, 74-44.
I guess I taught them well, Hyde joked following the game.
On a more serious note, Hyde praised the Fallsburg players for their ability and Marsden for his coaching acumen.
They are a good bunch of kids, Hyde said. I might have taught them a few things, but obviously Coach Marsden has taught them a great deal. Hes a great coach and deserves credit. The players are well-schooled and work hard out on the court.
The Comets also shoot well, especially from beyond the three point-arc. Fallsburg (5-0) made seven three-pointers during the game.
That accuracy, especially in the first half, helped the Comets grab a big lead which they never relinquished.
Guard Jon Hinton swished a pair of three-pointers in the final minute of the first quarter to give the Comets a 20-11 lead. Teammate Vernon Poole knocked down a pair of three-point shots of his own in the first 1:30 of the second period to extend the Fallsburg advantage to 26-15.
And, appropriately enough, Fallsburg ended the second quarter with another three-pointer. Hinton swished the long-range jumper with two seconds left in the quarter, giving the Comets a commanding 42-21 lead going into the locker room.
Fallsburg also took advantage of turnovers committed by the Manor (1-3), converting them into easy baskets.
Our defense helps get our offense going, Marsden said. We get some steals and that gets us going on the other end of the floor. And once we got into that flow tonight, we played pretty well.
Just like Hyde, Marsden knew his opponent well.
I told the guys before the game that we didnt have to scout them, Marsden said of Manor. Coach Hyde is a great coach and we knew what they were capable of doing.
Leading Fallsburg to the win were Brooks Whitaker, who scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and Brandon McKenney, who netted nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Hinton finished the game with 12 points, all of which came via four successful three-point shots.
Pacing the Wildcats in the scoring column was Brian Will. He finished with a game-high 16 points.
Despite the loss, Hyde remains optimistic as the bulk of the season lies ahead.
Well be there someday, he said. We start four juniors and a sophomore, so were young. But these guys are working hard and staying focused. Theyre a good bunch of kids.